County Kildare

County Kildare (Irish: Contae Chill Dara) is a county in Ireland. It is in the province of Leinster and is part of the Eastern and Midland Region. It is named after the town of Kildare. Kildare County Council is the local authority for the county, which has a population of 246,977.[3]

County Kildare
Contae Chill Dara
Coat of arms of County Kildare
The Short Grass County
Meanma agus Misneach (Irish)
"Spirit and Courage"
Location of County Kildare (dark green) in Ireland
Location of County Kildare (dark green) in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°10′N 6°45′W / 53.167°N 6.750°W / 53.167; -6.750Coordinates: 53°10′N 6°45′W / 53.167°N 6.750°W / 53.167; -6.750
RegionEastern and Midland
County townNaas
Largest settlementNewbridge
 • Local authorityKildare County Council
 • Dáil constituencyKildare North
Kildare South
 • EP constituencyMidlands–North-West
 • Total1,695 km2 (654 sq mi)
 • Rank24th
Highest elevation379 m (1,243 ft)
 • Total246,977
 • Rank7th
 • Density150/km2 (380/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC±0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing keys
R14, R45, R51, W12, W23, W34, W91 (primarily)
Telephone area codes01, 045, 059 (primarily)
Vehicle index
mark code
KE Edit this at Wikidata

Geography and subdivisionsEdit

County Kildare

Kildare is the 24th-largest of Ireland's 32 counties in area and the seventh largest in terms of population. It is the eighth largest of Leinster's twelve counties in size, and the second largest in terms of population. It is bordered by the counties of Carlow, Laois, Meath, Offaly, South Dublin and Wicklow. As an inland county, Kildare is generally a lowland region. The county's highest points are the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains bordering to the east. The highest point in Kildare is Cupidstown Hill on the border with South Dublin, with the better known Hill of Allen in central Kildare.

Towns and villagesEdit

Physical geographyEdit

Looking east across the broad plains of South Kildare to the distant Wicklow Hills.

The county has three major rivers running through it: the Barrow, the Liffey and the Boyne. The Grand Canal crosses the county from Lyons on the east to Rathangan and Monasterevin on the west. A southern branch joins the Barrow navigation at Athy. The Royal Canal stretches across the north of the county along the border with Meath. Pollardstown Fen is the largest remaining calcareous fen in Ireland, covering an area of 220 hectares and is recognised as an internationally important fen ecosystem with unique and endangered plant communities, and was declared a National Nature Reserve in 1986.

The Bog of Allen is a large bog that extends across 958 km2 (370 sq mi) and into County Kildare, County Meath, County Offaly, County Laois, and County Westmeath. Kildare has 243 km2 (94 sq mi) of bog (almost 14% of Kildare's land area) mostly located in the south-west and north-west, a majority of this being Raised Bog. It is a habitat for over 185 plant and animal species.

There are 8,472 hectares (20,930 acres) of forested land in Kildare, accounting for roughly 5% of the county's total land area. 4,056 hectares (10,020 acres) of this is coniferous, while there is 2,963 hectares (7,320 acres) of broadleaf and the remaining area are unclassified species. Coillte and Dúchas currently own 47% of the forestry. Coillte runs Donadea Forest Park which is in North-Central Kildare. The forest covers 259 hectares (640 acres) of mixed woodland (60% broadleaf, 40% conifer) and is the largest forest park in Kildare.


Kildare was shired in 1297[5] and assumed its present borders in 1832, following amendments to remove a number of enclaves and exclaves.

The county was the home of the powerful Fitzgerald family. Parts of the county were also part of the Pale area around Dublin.

Governance and politicsEdit

Local governmentEdit

Kildare County Council is the local authority for the county. The council has 40 members, elected in the local electoral areas of: Athy (5 seats), Celbridge (4 seats), Leixlip (3 seats), Clane (5 seats), Maynooth (5 Seats), Kildare (5 seats), Newbridge (6 Seats) and Naas (7 Seats). These form the municipal districts of Athy, Celbridge–Leixlip, Clane–Maynooth, Kildare–Newbridge, and Naas.[6] The current council was elected in May 2019.

Kildare County Council nominates three councillors to the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly, where there are part of the Mid-East strategic planning area committee.[7]

Former districtsEdit

Kildare was formerly divided into the rural districts of Athy No. 1, Celbridge No. 1, Edenderry No. 2, and Naas No. 1, and the urban districts of Athy and Naas.[8] The rural districts were abolished in 1925.[9] Newbridge or Droichead Nua, within the former rural district of Naas No. 1, had town commissioners, and Leixlip was given that status too in 1988.[10] The urban districts of Athy and Naas and the town commissioners of Newbridge and Leixlip became town councils in 2002.[11] All town councils in Ireland were abolished in 2014.[12]

National electionsEdit

For elections to Dáil Éireann, there are two constituencies in the county: Kildare North (4 seats) and Kildare South (4 seats).[13] At the 2020 Irish general election, Kildare North returned Catherine Murphy (SD), Réada Cronin (SF), Bernard Durkan (FG), and James Lawless (FF), while Kildare South returned Sean Ó Fearghaíl (FF) (returned automatically as outgoing Ceann Comhairle), Patricia Ryan (SF), Martin Heydon (FG), and Cathal Berry (Ind).

For elections to the European Parliament, it is part of the Midlands–North-West constituency (4 MEPs).


The county's population has nearly doubled to 186,000 from 1990–2005. The northeastern region of Kildare had the highest average per-capita income in Ireland outside County Dublin in 2003. East Kildare's population has increased rapidly, for example, the amount of housing in the Naas suburb of Sallins has increased sixfold since the mid-1990s.[citation needed]

As of 2022 the population of the county was 246,977. Ethnically, the 2016 census recorded County Kildare as 84% white Irish, 9% other white ethnicities, 2% black, 2% Asian, 1% of other ethnicities, and 2% not stated. For religion, the census recorded a population that was 80% Catholic, 9% of other stated religions, 10% with no religion and 2% not stated.[3]

Ethnic GroupsEdit

Main immigrant groups, 2016[14]
Nationality Population
  United Kingdom 10,527
  Poland 6,869
  Lithuania 1,550
  Romania 1,156
  Nigeria 1,120
  Philippines 1,088
  United States 1,082
  India 929
  Latvia 845
  Moldova 829

Urban areas and populationsEdit

Town Population 2016
Newbridge 22,742
Naas 21,393
Celbridge 20,288
Leixlip 15,504
Maynooth 14,585
Athy 9,677
Kildare 8,634
Clane 7,280
Kilcock 6,093
Sallins 5,849
Monasterevin 4,246

Health careEdit

County Kildare hospitals include Naas General Hospital and Clane General Hospital.



County Kildare houses the hub of Ireland's network of major roads.

The N4 (M4) from Dublin to Sligo travels along the north of the county by-passing the towns of Leixlip, Maynooth and Kilcock.

The M7 from Dublin to Limerick runs through the county and bypasses the towns of Naas, Newbridge, Kildare and Monasterevin. This road is colloquially referred to as the "Naas Dual carriageway" because when it was originally up-graded in 1964 the road from Dublin to Naas was a double-lane carriageway, one of the first of its kind in Ireland.

The M9 is another motorway that commences at Kilcullen and ends at Waterford. It is motorway standard for its entire length.


The county is also served by the trains connecting with Dublin, southern Leinster, Munster and Connacht, with daily connections to Cork, Waterford, Limerick, and Galway. The principal Irish Rail InterCity train station in the county is Kildare, however, Newbridge, Sallins and Hazelhatch are also served by South Western Commuter services, while Maynooth, in northern County Kildare, is served by Western Commuter and Sligo InterCity services.


River Barrow and White's Castle, Athy

Kildare is the centre of Ireland's Grand Canal network built in the late 18th century. This connects Kildare with Waterford, Dublin, Limerick and Athlone. The Royal Canal runs west from Dublin and parts of it form the boundary with County Meath.

Irish languageEdit

There are 4,491 Irish speakers in County Kildare; 2,451 attending the seven Gaelscoils (Irish language primary schools) and one Gaelcholáiste (Irish language secondary school).[15] According to the Irish Census 2006, 2,040 people in the county identify themselves as being daily Irish speakers outside the education system.


  • Two third-level educational institutions – St. Patrick's College founded by King George III in 1795 to educate Ireland's Catholics and Maynooth University founded in 1997 – are located in Maynooth. They share campus space and many facilities. The two institutions were formally separated in 1997. Maynooth University is the only university in the Republic of Ireland not situated in a city.
  • Clongowes Wood College is a private secondary boarding school for boys, located near Clane. Founded by the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) in 1814, it is one of Ireland's oldest Catholic schools.
  • Newbridge College is a co-educational fee-paying secondary school. The Dominican Order founded Newbridge College in 1852 as a boarding school for boys.
  • Leinster Senior College is a small private fee-paying secondary school geared solely towards the Leaving Certificate.
  • The town of Clane is home to another educational institute, Clane College, a provider of further education to the wider Kildare community.
  • Naas C.B.S., Saint Mary's College Naas and Piper's Hill College are the three main secondary schools in Naas.



Horses near Pollardstown Fen

The nickname for the Kildare GAA team is the Lilywhites, as a result of its early jerseys being made from the bags of the Lilywhite Bakery. The all-white jerseys they wear are in reference to this.

In 1928, Kildare became the first team to win the Sam Maguire trophy for the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, defeating Cavan 2–6 to 2–5. However, since then Kildare has reached the All-Ireland Football Championship Final on four occasions, the last being in 1998, but has failed on all four attempts.

County Kildare is also known as the Shortgrass County which is a reference to how short the grass is on the commons of the Curragh.


The Michael Smurfit owned K Club, situated on the River Liffey near Straffan played host to the 2006 Ryder Cup.

Carton House Golf Club is located in Maynooth. The Golfing Union of Ireland, the longest established golf union in the world, have their national headquarters on the estate. This facility also comprises the GUI National Academy, an 8.9-hectare (22-acre; 89,000-square-metre) teaching facility for up-and-coming golfers, as well as being a facility available to all golfers in Ireland.

Other prominent courses are located at Knockanally and Clane.

Horse racingEdit

Kildare is famous worldwide for its horse racing.[16][17] The Curragh horse-racing course is the home to all five Irish Classic Flat races. Also located in County Kildare are two other courses, Punchestown Racecourse, home of the National Hunt Festival of Ireland, and Naas Racecourse, which runs both National Hunt and Flat meetings and is used by top racehorse trainers as a test for horses preparing for the Cheltenham festival.

The county is famous for the quality of horses bred in the many stud farms to which it is home, including the Irish National Stud and many other top studs such as Gilltown, Moyglare and Kildangan Stud, and race horse training establishments, such as the Osborne Stables.


Kildare is the home to Mondello Park, Ireland's only international motorsport venue. Established by Martin Birrane in 1968 on 45 hectares (110 acres), and redeveloped in 1999/2000, the facility incorporates 3.5 km (2.2 mi) of race track, 24 race garages and 12 Hospitality Suites. The Circuit also has 3 km (1.9 mi) of extreme off-road driving trails and a 2-hectare (5-acre) off-road activities centre and the Museum of Motorsport. Mondello Park was awarded the FIA International race track status in 2001. It is host to National and International Race events, Motor Shows, Car & Bike Track days, Training Schools and Corporate Events.


Kildare County F.C. was a League of Ireland club from 2002 until 2009, based in Newbridge, where Leinster Senior League side Newbridge Town F.C. was invited to join the league in 2002, however, a broader Kildare-based franchise was created instead, playing out of Station Road, Newbridge.

Places of interestEdit

Notable peopleEdit


Writers, musicians, and entertainersEdit


County Kildare is twinned with the following places:

Both are major centres of the Thoroughbred breeding industry in their respective countries.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "A Brief History of Co.Kildare". Archived from the original on 25 June 2019. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  2. ^ . Central Statistics Office (Ireland) Retrieved 1 September 2022. {{cite web}}: Check |archive-url= value (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b c "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: County Kildare". Central Statistics Office (Ireland). Archived from the original on 12 January 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  4. ^ Archived 20 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine for post 1821 figures, 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years, Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy 14 March 1865, 1788 Estimate from survey by GP Bushe. |1813 estimate from Mason's Statistical Survey
  5. ^ Otway-Ruthven, Annette Jocelyn (1980). A history of medieval Ireland. Routledge. p. 174. ISBN 0-510-27800-0. Archived from the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  6. ^ County of Kildare Local Electoral Areas and Municipal Districts Order 2018 (S.I. No. 620 of 2018). Signed on 19 December 2018. Statutory Instrument of the Government of Ireland. Irish Statute Book.
  7. ^ Local Government Act 1991 (Regional Assemblies) (Establishment) Order 2014 (S.I. No. 573 of 2014). Signed on 16 December 2014. Statutory Instrument of the Government of Ireland. Retrieved 29 January 2022, from Irish Statute Book.
  8. ^ "1926 Census: Table 9: Population, Area and Valuation of urban and rural districts and of all towns with a population of 1,500 inhabitants or over, showing particulars of town and village population and of the number of persons per 100 acres" (PDF). Central Statistics Office. p. 21. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  9. ^ Local Government Act 1925, s. 3: Abolition of rural district councils (No. 5 of 1925, s. 3). Signed on 26 March 1925. Act of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 22 December 2021, from Irish Statute Book.
  10. ^ Towns Improvement (Ireland) Act 1854 (Leixlip) Order 1988 (S.I. No. 103 of 1988). Signed on 18 May 1988. Statutory Instrument of the Government of Ireland. Irish Statute Book.
  11. ^ Local Government Act 2001, 6th Sch.: Local Government Areas (Towns) (No. 37 of 2001, 6th Sch.). Signed on 21 July 2001. Act of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 7 August 2022, from Irish Statute Book.
  12. ^ Local Government Reform Act 2014, s. 24: Dissolution of town councils and transfer date (No. 1 of 2014, s. 24). Signed on 27 January 2014. Act of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 21 May 2022, from Irish Statute Book.
  13. ^ Electoral (Amendment) (Dáil Constituencies) Act 2017, Schedule (No. 39 of 2017, Schedule). Signed on 23 December 2017. Act of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 8 August 2021, from Irish Statute Book.
  14. ^ "Population Usually Resident and Present in the State 2011 to 2016". Archived from the original on 10 March 2018. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Oideachas Trí Mheán na Gaeilge in Éirinn sa Ghalltacht 2010–2011" (PDF) (in Ga). 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  16. ^ "Passion for Horses, The New York Times". 16 April 1995. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
  17. ^ "Kildarehorse". Archived from the original on 7 November 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
  18. ^ Barrington, George (1755? – 1804). Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1. MUP. 1966. pp. 62–63. Retrieved 23 August 2007.
  19. ^ John N. Molony, 'Cullen, Paul (1803–1878)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 7 November 2014
  20. ^ Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Wisconsin Counties of Waupaca, Portage, Wood, Marathon, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas, Langlade and Shawano. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. 1895. pp. 761–762. Retrieved 18 August 2015. Michael Gorman+Wisconsin.
  21. ^ "John Vincent Holland V.C." Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  22. ^ "The de Robecks of Gowran Grange, Co. Kildare". Turtle Bunbury. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  23. ^ Fredriksen, John C (2001). America's military adversaries: from colonial times to the present. ABC-CLIO. p. 483. ISBN 978-1-57607-603-3.
  24. ^ Ganatra, Shilpa (17 August 2019). "Damien Molony From Kildare To Top Of British TV". The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  25. ^ Coates, Laura (8 March 2017). "10 awesome Kildare women making waves in the world". Leinster Leader. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  26. ^ Armstrong, Maggie (11 January 2020). "Readers' expectations are the 'biggest source of anxiety' – Paul Mescal on tackling role of Connell in Normal People". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 31 May 2020. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  27. ^ Deming, Mark. "Luka Bloom". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  28. ^ O'Toole, Leagues (2006). The Humours of Planxty. Ireland: Hodder Headline. ISBN 0-340-83796-9.
  29. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1854. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  30. ^ "FAQ – Where was Damien born and where did he grow up?". n.d. Archived from the original on 2 May 2007. Retrieved 24 April 2007.
  31. ^ "County Twinning Committee". Kildare Twinning. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  32. ^ "About the Lexington Sister Cities Commission". Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Archived from the original on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  33. ^ "Sister Cities – U.S. Embassy Dublin, Ireland". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 14 July 2009.

External linksEdit